SELLERSBURG — Providence ended Silver Creek’s season the last two years, and on Tuesday, the 5-time reigning semistate champions beat the host Dragons in three sets, 25-20, 25-18 and 25-15 on Tuesday.
Needless to say, Silver Creek coach Jeff Zimmerman is thrilled that his team won’t have to see the Pioneers in the postseason again. Providence moved up to Class 4A due to the success factor.
“Let [the 4A field] have them,” Zimmerman said Tuesday.
Both coaches agreed that the rivalry match is a great way to start the season.
“We were just ready to play,” Providence coach Terri Purichia said. “Preseason is a long time. To be able to open up against a team like Silver Creek kind of gives us a gauge on where we are and where we need to be, what we need to do better.”
Providence got stronger throughout the night Tuesday. The Pioneers and Dragons were tied at 19-19 in the first set before Providence went on a 6-1 run to close the set on back-to-back Madison Kruer aces. In the second, the Pioneers ran out to a 12-4 lead before Ashlee Ullrich’s back-to-back aces got Creek within 17-15. After a timeout, Providence put the set away thanks to a strong service game.
The Pioneers finished with 15 aces, including three apiece from Ceci Rush, Lilly Bivens and Kruer.
“Providence is one of the best teams in the state again and I think they’re going to compete at the 4A level,” Zimmerman said. “It’s nice to get out and play a team like that to see what you need to work on.”
Surprisingly, Providence All-American Marissa Hornung had just five kills on the night. Junior Hanna Mitchell and sophomore Courtney Glotzbach more than made up for it. Mitchell had a match-high 13 and Glotzbach added 10. Freshman Ali Hornung — Marissa’s younger sister — also had five kills.
In her varsity setting debut, Bivens had 30 assists.
“We have an explosive offense,” Purichia said. “We have several kids who can hit the ball and do a nice job. That presents a very good situation when you can control the ball, so we just have to work on that.”
With Hornung as the only Pioneer senior, Purichia believes her team has plenty of room to grow in 2017.
“I love what I saw and we’re just going to continue to get better, which is exciting,” Purichia said.
In the third set, Silver Creek led 6-4 before Providence dominated the remainder of the set. The Dragons seemed to lose focus in the heat of the Silver Creek gymnasium.
“I just don’t think we were mentally tough,” Zimmerman said. “Our serve-receive let down and they kept firing and kept firing and kept firing. We thought [the heat] would be an advantage to our team because it’s hot in here all the time. Tonight it wasn’t. We were a little sluggish.”
As was the case most of last season, the Dragons were balanced offensively. Kiersten Cooper led the team with eight kills, Karli Ware had seven and Ashlee Ullrich had six kills, three aces and two blocks. Macie Garrison had 19 assists and 11 digs in the loss.
PROVIDENCE 3, SILVER CREEK 0
Providence 25 25 25
Silver Creek 20 18 15
Kills: Providence — Hanna Mitchell 13, Courtney Glotzbach 10, Marissa Hornung 5, Ali Hornung 5, Lilly Bivens 2, Ceci Rush 1, Anna Purichia 1, Maggie Purichia 1; Silver Creek — Kiersten Cooper 8, Karli Ware 7, Ashlee Ullrich 6, Amy Mobley 3, Macie Garrison 1, Alisha Harbold 1.
Blocks: Providence — M. Hornung 1, Mitchell 1; Silver Creek — Ullrich 1, Zoie Zimmerman.
Assists: Providence — Bivens 30, Rush 1, A. Purichia 1, M. Purichia 1; Silver Creek — Garrison 19, Zimmerman 1.
Aces: Providence — Rush 3, Bivens 3, Kruer 3, M. Hornung 2, Glotzbach 2, Grace Hublar 2; Silver Creek — Ullrich 3, Cooper 1, Harbold 1.
Digs: Providence — A. Hornung 8, Rush 7, M. Hornung 7, Bivens 6, Kruer 6; Silver Creek — Garrison 11, Harbold 8, Zimmerman 5, Ware 4, Ullrich 2, Cooper 1, Mobley 1.
~story provided by newsandtribune.com